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First Amendment Rights Challenged in Alamance County

Two groups of protesters facing off in a street, with police officers standing in the middle. Protesters with confederate flags stand on the right.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC
Statue defenders and anti-racists went face to face in Graham on July 11.

Protests continue in Graham over the town’s Confederate statue and the local history of racist policing. Over the weekend, the Alamance County seat hosted hundreds of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and local social justice organizations. They were met by law enforcement and more than 50 counter-protesters with ties to ReOpen networks and white supremacist organizations.

Last month, the mayor of Graham shut down the protest permit-approval process. While the ban was lifted after four days, on July 1, legal advocates from the ACLU and local NAACP are challenging the constitutionality of the city ordinance on granting protest permits. The lawsuit alleges, “The Ordinance unconstitutionally blocks two or more people who wish to protest — and even single individuals who seek to march while carrying a sign — in Graham from doing so without a permit, subjects those seeking a permit to vague and, in effect, content- and viewpoint-based standards, and severely restricts the size and conduct of protests for which a permit is obtained.”

WUNC’s Greensboro reporter Naomi Prioleau describes to host Anita Rao the ways she saw protesters and armed counter-protesters treated differently by law enforcement during the weeks of demonstrations.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
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